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Mayan unique unit. Strong, fast, well-armored archer with less attack than other archers.
Age of Empires II description

The Plumed Archer is the unique unit of the Mayans in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. It is a fast, well armored foot archer. Its comparatively high base cost is reduced by the Mayans' civilization bonus, making it one of the most cost-effective archers.

Plumed Archers can be upgraded to Elite Plumed Archers in the Imperial Age.


Plumed Archers have a lower attack than most archers, but have much higher HP and a higher movement speed, enough to even keep up with some cavalry. This allows them to perform hit-and-run tactics and effectively replace the Cavalry Archer for the Mayan civilization. Plumed Archers have an attack bonus against infantry, making them effective against most infantry units in the game, with the exception of Huskarls and Samurai. However, they are vulnerable to cavalry, though their increased hit points allow them to last longer than most archers, and in groups, weaker cavalry such as Hussars can be killed quickly enough to negate the threat. Paladins, however, are a much bigger threat due to having enough attack to still kill even Plumed Archers quickly, and having 3 pierce armor, allowing them to just take 2 damage per arrow from Elite Plumed Archers, which means they usually can take 90 hits before dying.

They must be paired with the Eagle Warriors in most situations, as both units move fast enough to perform raiding tactics, both have good HP, and cover the main weaknesses of the other unit. Like with other archers, they are vulnerable to siege weapons, especially Onagers, although to a lesser extent since their 65 HP allows them to take two Onager shots (Siege Onagers still kill them with one payload however), and their speed makes dodging enemy siege attacks significantly easier. Rattan Archers can defeat Plumed Archers with ease, even though the Plumed Archers have decent pierce armor themselves. Elite Skirmishers and Genitours are also cost-effective against Plumed Archers, and are ideal units to spam against them.

Further statistics[]

As Plumed Archers are unique to the Mayans, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry, Villagers, Hand Cannoneers
Weak vs. Skirmishers, Scorpions, Mangonels, cavalry, Huskarls, Samurai, Rattan Archers, Genitours
Attack FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE.png Chemistry (+1)
Range FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
Firing rate ThumbRingDE.png Thumb Ring (+18%)
Accuracy ThumbRingDE.png Thumb Ring (increases accuracy to 100%)
BallisticsDE.png Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor PaddedArcherArmorDE.png Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)
LeatherArcherArmorDE.png Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
RingArcherArmorDE.png Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Creation speed ConscriptionDE.png Conscription (+33%)
CastleAgeUnique.png Kasbah (+25%, with a Berber ally only)
Upgrades Elite-unique-research.jpg Elite Plumed Archer

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Mayans: Plumed Archers are 20%/30% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.

Team bonuses[]


The Conquerors[]

  • Plumed Archers cost 46W/46G.
  • The upgrade to Elite Plumed Archers costs 500F/1,000W.

The Forgotten[]

  • Plumed Archers cost 50W/50G.
  • The upgrade to Elite Plumed Archers costs 700F/1,000W.

Definitive Edition[]


  • With just 5, the Plumed Archer is the Castle unique unit with the second lowest base attack, only behind the Kipchak with 4.
  • The Plumed Archer initially is the only Castle unique unit whose Elite upgrade costs no gold. Since the release of the Definitive Edition, this status now is also held by the Kipchak.
    • The Mayan unique unit may be appropriately named Holkan (literally "head [of the] serpent" > "warrior"). The Holkans served under the chief Mayan military captain and were only paid while on military campaigns by him or a Mayan town (Christensen 2014:34).
  • The Plumed Archer line is the fastest foot archer in the game.
  • The Elite Plumed Archer has the highest HP among foot archers, and the non-elite Plumed Archer has the second highest, tied with the Elite Genoese Crossbowman and the Elite Chu Ko Nu.
  • The Plumed Archer is the fastest attacking archer unit in the game based on raw stats. It becomes the fourth fastest attacking archer unit considering civilization bonuses (the Mongol Cavalry Archer line, the Mangudai line, and the Ethiopian Archer line precede them).
  • The Plumed Archer, the Genoese Crossbowman, and the Chu Ko Nu do not have a visible attack increase after their Elite upgrades (though the attack bonuses of the first two units increase when upgraded).
  • The Plumed Archer is the most expensive foot archer (in gold, wood, and combined value) in the game on base cost.


The natives of Central America had developed the bow and used it in combat. Their bow technology was not far advanced, however, in comparison to the Asian composite bow or English longbow. Archers could be ordered to wound when capture of enemies was more important than killing. Like all other Mayan warriors, archers wore distinctive costumes so commanders could distinguish their troops and place the right group where needed. The status of archers was low in comparison to other warrior ranks, so men of lower standing and skill entered their ranks. Men of status and ambition joined the ranks of the Eagle Warrior where they could have the opportunity to take captives.

The better skilled and experienced bowmen became Elite Plumed Archers. They were especially important when absolute victory was required because they had the ability to kill enemies quickly and break enemy army morale under a barrage of well-aimed arrows.